Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise has concluded that employers have the right to terminate employment contracts with employees who do not attend health checks organized by the employer.
After analyzing the compulsory nature of employer-organized health checks, Madise determined that the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act are consistent with the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia in as those employees whose health condition does not directly influence the life and health of others are also subjected to compulsory health checks.
Madise said that if an employee refuses to have their health checked, according to the Employment Contracts Act, the employer has the right to extraordinarily terminate the contract of employment due to a loss of confidence if they can not expect the employment relationship to continue in compliance with mutual interest.
"For example, if the employee does not go to a health check, a grounded suspicion may arise that the employee is hiding important information from the employer which may be relevant to the employment relationship," she explained. "In that case, the employer must substantiate their interest in terminating the employment relationship. This decision can not be made lightly or disproportionately."
In addition, before terminating the contract, the employer must warn the employee so that the employee can change their behavior accordingly and avoid the termination of their contract of employment, she added.
According to the Chancellor of Justice, if in certain fields of activity, such as rescue work and air traffic control, health checks must be carried out to avoid damaging the health of other employees or third persons in addition to that of their own, then in other cases, preventive health checks are carried out to try to protect the health of the employee and avoid economic loss for the employee, employer as well as the state.
Madise said that the aim of mandatory health checks is to prevent as well as detect damage to health resulting from work as soon as possible, as well as decrease absences from work. "When organizing health checks, in the future, the employer can protect themselves from health damage claims presented by the employee and damages caused by the employee's absence from work," she explained. "This is why employers have a considerable interest in employees participating in health checks."
In the awarding of damages in later claims against the employer, the role of the employee in causing the damage can be taken into account, but the damages themselves can no longer be prevented, according to Madise.
Editor: Aili Vahtla